The setting was lunch at one of my favorite trendy spots on Center. The question was: What do you want to do when you grow up?
She stalled, lost in the interior landscape of whirly gigs, Eastern influenced art, and mechanical sculptures.
"I like building things. I don't know."
That was a new one to me. Sometimes she has truly blonde moments. So I pressed, "What kind of things?"
She shrugged, I smiled and left it alone. She does better with light, surface chat.
I have two daughters, and while both beautiful, talented young women, they couldn't be more different. Each of them feeds me in different ways, so I find the most satisfaction in their company separately, one-on-one. Today was L—'s turn.
I woke this morning, pushed away the emotional struggle that had me up most of the night, prayed for a good half hour, and then meditated on whom in the world I could best be a light to today. The Spirit said, Call L— and ask her if she wants to spend some time with you, since it's usually the other way around.
L— is in the midst of puberty. She and the rest of the fam have been caught in her non-stop PMS for the last six months, at least. I'm praying her cycle starts soon to give her some relief. The moodiness is wearing everyone out; her the most. All of my kids need attention and help dealing with life and the current situation, but this clear prompting was welcome. I've been at a loss lately how to best fill L—'s bucket.
The phone rang and my ex answered in a groggy it's-10 a.m.-I-just-woke-up-and-why-are-you-calling-me voice. L—'s voice wasn't much different once her dad had retrieved her. I posed the question and her reply was immediately alert and eager. We agreed on noon for lunch and then maybe a stroll in the mall.
Where M— loves trying new, exotic dishes, L— is a suspicious eater. One of the reasons I love the joint we visited is that they offer both simple quesadillas for younger palettes and a hearty Mulligatawny soup for more complex taste buds. We tied the meal together with a shared side of sweet potato fries.
I threw out the option of the art museum in Gallery Land to the south, but L— really isn't a gallery child. While the mall had only been a passing idea, she jumped at it. We decided to play dress-up at JCP, because L— is girly and a little wild and (totally unlike her mother) 100% comfortable in front of a camera:
I dropped her off at her dad's after five hours of play.
As if it weren't already part of me, it sunk in deeper today that I am mother, living the dream not just because I have given birth, but because I get the wondrous privilege of truly enjoying the four fascinating people whose bodies originated inside my own. That fact brings me more joy, more sense of rightness than anything else in my life.
A dear friend and fellow mother once sent me the most comforting words ever written: "The world deserves more children who have you for their mother."
I spent fifteen minutes kissing, hugging and giggling with all four of them before I returned to life in solitary. L— texted me a short time later...
"Mom, this [afternoon] when you asked me what I wanted to be I totally spaced out. I want to be a photographer! :) love u"
I think she's got a good shot. She's pretty comfortable behind the lens as well.